One of our Infinity contributors, Genghis Cohen, has been experimenting with playing the Military Orders Sectorial recently. This isn’t so much a fully-fledged tactics article or faction review in the vein of our others but more a look at his initial impressions of the faction and his experiences using them. We’ll likely revisit them at a future date for a more detailed analysis.
Like many Infinity players the lure of pre-order releases was too strong for me, and I bought into the new and revamped Military Orders Sectorial. I am a long time Corregidor and Nomads player, and have mostly resisted the urge to play every faction that bedevils the experienced Infinity player. I did already have Yu Jing (Imperial Service and Invincible Army) as an alternate army, but haven’t played with them much, so while this is not technically my second army, it is a big change for me to move away from Nomads in serious play.
The profile changes to Military Orders (MO) were much-hyped, but a lot of the online commentary I’ve seen since their release is lukewarm on the Sectorial’s competitiveness. It was previously a points-hungry army with loads of expensive options but a dearth of cheap, efficient troops. This is still partly the case – their core light infantry, while not bad, isn’t too easy to build around (particularly, as we’ll see, they have limited options to spearhead them with a Wildcard firepower piece) and they have limited access to other cheap troops. While the Sectorial now boasts two NCO options and one Lieutenant (+1 Order), it lacks widespread Tactical Awareness or access to Counterintelligence, which would have been nice to enable lists focussing on powerful Heavy Infantry. Finally, the Sectorial has limited long-ranged firepower pieces, especially those with high Burst and gunfighting mods. They do exist, but as we will see, some of your most attractive firepower pieces are limited to simple Spitfires. Given that as PanOceania, they also have no access to Smoke, not even Eclipse smoke, this can limit your options.
Despite all this negativity, there are clearly some very useful profiles available. I dove in at the deep end, and after two practice games I ended up playing MO in the Remote Access League, a 5-round ITS tournament on Tabletop Simulator, and with a hefty dose of luck I was able to win 4 of 5 games and finish in second place. So this article is not coming from a place of great experience, but I have given the units a run-out against competitive opposition. It’s a topic I hope to revisit later on once I am more experienced with the army. I will look at Fireteam options, key attack pieces and specialists, stand out profiles, and the overall structure and play of lists.
Some Sectorial Assumptions
Leverage the Strongest Profiles or ‘Mr Ts’
Straight up, Trinitarians and Teutons are the best profiles in this Sectorial. The former are your best midfield pieces & mission specialists (although some missions offer bonuses to Doctors/Paramedics or to Hackers, and there is competition there). The latter are the most tuned-up HI profile available, offering so much utility for half the price of a conventional HI Knight. You’ve got to at least be considering these options in every list. Hidden Deployment has diminishing returns, so many of my lists would only take 1 Trinitarian and I’d rarely go beyond 2. But Teutons seem to make it in at max availability in every list. This does restrict the variety of list structure, as we’ll see with MO’s byzantine Fireteam construction rules. But it’s damn hard to break away from those Teutons.
Knights are Expensive, Awesome and Tough
Coming from a Nomads background, I have struggled with list building around Knights. I bought into the MO models to play with cool power armoured space knights. This conflicts with my theory of lists in the game. I have been conditioned to seek out tuned-up Light or Medium Infantry options. Deployment options and gunfighting mods are king. Armour and extra Wounds are bloat. The optimum list is one that front-loads threats across the board. But playing with MO, as well as adapting to N4 conditions, has started to change my mind on this front. It is difficult to include multiple Knights and still get a list which includes enough attack pieces, forward deploying threats etc. But so many of your key pieces being HI, with high ARM, PH and BS, has a visible effect across multiple games. When you’re caught out of position or experience a stroke of bad luck, the game doesn’t fall apart quite as quickly as with the LI/MI centric lists I’m accustomed to. Your Knights can sometimes withstand a fair few Orders of capable troops attacking them. Sometimes you’re unlucky and they do go down like chumps, but often they will take a battering and either keep going, or at least soak up your opponent’s Active Turn.
Cheap Troops are in Short Supply
I’ve written before that in competitive Infinity, it’s the cheapest troops you see taken at maximum availability; in many ways they are what define competitive lists within each faction. I don’t see many Yu Jing lists without 4 Kuang Shi and most armies that can take Warbands will include some, especially if they are Regular. Here MO are at a disadvantage. Their Line Infantry are very slightly more expensive than average (this is really a pretty minor difference) but they only have AVA1 Flash Pulse REMs and their other very cheap troops are unarmed Irregulars. Meanwhile many of their star profiles are upper-reach Heavy Infantry with costs of 40+ pts. In order to reach 15 models, I almost always found myself taking 3-4 Coadjutant Crosiers, a Fugazi (Flash Pulse bot), perhaps an unarmed and an EVO Mulebot. I would then be looking at a couple of Trinitarians and 3 Teutons – not just because those profiles are awesome, but because so many other options are expensive, and I run out of points short of that magic 15. This is not a complaint, I do not think that the Sectorial is overcosted/underpowered and I am not making a case that any of its profiles should be made cheaper. I am simply pointing out that the cheapest troops in MO are unexceptional, they do not have Jaguars to fall back on. You have to take the cheap troops and they will do OK, so that your good profiles can do their work.
Picking your Lieutenant
We Need to Talk about Knight Commander Kevin
The highest-profile option, newly included in the MO release box, is the Knight Commander. He’s a Holomaskable Lt for 24 pts, or with +1 Order for 28 pts. Honestly, that isn’t super impressive. He’s a decent close combat fighter, he’s Shock Immune, he’s got BS13 with a Combi-Rifle and Light Shotgun. Basically, some minor kit you’d swap in a minute for him to be 5-8 points cheaper. He only exists to be a hidden Lt. If you compare him (outside of faction, which I realise is a no-no), to the game baseline of a cheap Line Infantry Lt, the latter is objectively better – you could take 2 normal LI models and play the shell game with them for what he costs as a Lt with extra Lt Order. But MO don’t get those cheap hideable Lts, and with two very tempting NCO options in the Sectorial, a lot of lists will include a Knight Commander by necessity. If you take him, the only choice is whether to hide him in a Crosier Fireteam (he can’t join any other type) or disguise him as a non-Lt-eligible model Prone in your Deployment Zone. The issue with the latter is that even if your opponent doesn’t realise the trick, a lone 1W model can easily get punked by a marauding Parachutist or similar threat. If for any reason your Holomasked Knight Commander should need to roll, it will be obvious – this model cannot be anything except a Lt. The moment you display 2 Lt Orders, and that is basically why you take him, it will be obvious that you have a Knight Commander, and that will cause your opponent to look very closely at your Crosier Fireteam and any stray models hanging around at the back without a clear role. Basically, this model is a hidden Lt, but he’s not as hidden as, say, a Hafza Lt is. (15 pts, BTW – not that I’m bitter or anything)
TL;DR the Knight Commander is actually a pretty crappy Lt option, but you will likely take him because all the other Lts are a waste if not filling aggressive roles and the faction has only one Chain of Command piece, the Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, which is also an aggressive piece. Additionally, while the Knight Commander is not exactly a bargain at the price, leveraging 2 Lt Orders and NCO is one of the best/only ways to extend your reach beyond that allowed by the 10 Order Combat Group and 15 Order army total.
A valid counter-argument is that NCO is still valuable with 1 Lt Order. So the other options are, in ascending cost order: Teutonic Knight (19), Knight Hospitaller (31), Knight of Santiago (43), Joan, Knight of Justice (47), Joan in mobility armor (50), De Fersen (51). The Teuton and Hospitaller are Lts where you could keep them relatively secure in a big Fireteam where they are not trivial for your opponent to attack. The other Knights (which come as Spitfire options, with a nice SWC discount in the Santiago’s case) and special characters are pure aggression pieces.
If you want a secure Lt whose job is to keep you out of Loss, I consider the Teutonic Knight to be equally as good as a Knight Commander. He costs less and can easily chill out somewhere far back, if you can get the right spot, most Parachutists and other such models won’t want to tangle with him. The downside is that profile (basic Light Shotgun/Panzerfaust Teuton) is so valuable in an aggressive Haris Fireteam. It’s either something you move forward and risk, or a red flag to your opponent that it’s your Lt.
The Knight Hospitaller can be the most secure Lt available – he can go in a full Core Fireteam and not be used as the point man, while still having the protection of his HI statline. The downside is this is also fairly obvious (you’d never take the profile as Fireteam filler if it wasn’t the Lt) and costs more than a Knight Commander, without providing a second Lt Order.
Of the more heroic Lt options, Joan is the standout to me. De Fersen and the Knights of Santiago and Justice are all good point men in any size of Fireteam, but if you are going to lead from the front (and I cannot reiterate enough that this isn’t a good idea) you might as well get the mitigation of No Wound Incapacitation and the advantages of Inspiring Presence. The only fly in the ointment is that Joan is either flying solo, or in a hellishly expensive Crusade Fireteam, there is no middle ground. The Knight of Santiago, for example, while definitely less bang for your buck, can at least lead a relatively cheap Fireteam.
We’ll discuss the Crusade Fireteam below, but is Joan worth it as a Lt alone? I am on the fence. 50 pts (because you’d definitely want the Spitfire version as a solo piece), you get the opportunity to take 2 Regular Orders (the Warcor and Tech-Bee) for 8 pts more and you can do one very handy Co-ordinated Order per Turn (or use her Lt Order on herself normally or on an NCO if you still happen to take one). It’s not bad, it can do things, but it’s a good chunk of your army which should hold back until Round 3.
In summary, I don’t like it but I would go with the Knight Commander in any game where I included a Crosier Fireteam. The Teuton would be my backup choice but it might force me to change how I used my Teutons, e.g. including a Wildcard with their Haris so I could use them and keep the Lt back, or building a full Core Fireteam around Teutons. The other Lt choices would force me to spend a lot of effort in controlling the game to get some use from them without exposing them to serious risk, and that is just too delicate a line to walk in a close match.
This is one area where on release, some players were a little disappointed. MO does not have the insane Wildcard flexibility of Corregidor, and lacks any particular trick like cheap REMs in Core Fireteams. Most gallingly, some of the archetypal leaders like Joan are gated behind a ‘Crusade Fireteam’ rather than being true Wildcards, while some Wildcards and cheap options are excluded from Crusade Fireteam. The available HI-based Fireteams lack really efficient filler models – you can take an Infirmarer or Konstantinos as Wildcards, however these are both quite inefficient choices which pay for some skills while lacking key capabilities.
Core Fire Teams
Coadjutant Crosiers are the line infantry/cheapo option to build a Core Fireteam around, and therefore will be the one most often taken. It’s just too big an investment to build a primarily-Heavy Infantry team, if you want to fit any flexibility of striking power elsewhere in the list. As that base for a team, they’re OK, although not comparable to the lucky factions which can do this with Warbands. BS12 for 11 pts base is fine by me, although any competitive player would probably take lower stats for 10 pts if they could. The issue here is that Crosiers can’t be Lts, when hiding a Lt in a defensive Core Fireteam is one of the most common solutions to secrecy and protection. Crosiers can hide a Knight Commander as a Lt since he can join their Fireteam, which most players will do instead of trying to bluff their critical Lt as some random piece off by himself. They can include a Hacker (via the Order Sergeants, one of which can join their team), an Engineer (ditto the MO Machinist) and critically a Paramedic for whatever firepower piece your team includes, and for any nearby Knights in a pickle. While hardly eye-catching from a list building point of view, these options mean they provide a good Core for missions like Countermeasures or Highly Classified – you can include some wide specialist capabilities. I also like the Blitzen/EM mines option for 13pts. 2pts over the base model, if you can squeeze it in, gives you the ability to risk a cheeky shot at a TAG or stand up a long-range ARO if you need to delay the enemy in the final Round.
What firepower piece do you add to Crosiers for them to fill the firepower potential of a Core Fireteam? Defensively, they have a Multisniper option or you can add in an Order Sergeant with Heavy Rocket Launcher (HRL) – both budget choices which can do the job but aren’t outstanding. The outstanding defensive option here is the Knight of Justice with Missile Launcher (ML). It’s a lot of points to invest in ARO, but with excellent protection and BS14, and likely a paramedic standing by, it’s about as good a point defence as you can get. Offensively, there’s actually something to be said for the MSV2 Spitfire Crosier. It’s a good capability for the price. I’ve taken the Knight of Justice Spitfire before, but even when grabbing Forward Deployment, you’re paying a premium for a very mobile aggressive piece and then chaining it to a Fireteam which does not want to move forward into a vulnerable position. I would only do that if you have a viable plan to split the Knight away after the initial firefight (and then reform the team with a spare model). On initial impression, I think the Black Friar HRL is the best all-round point man for the Crosier Fireteam. Only 1W, but you fire at 2 BS16 dice at anything in the game, and with those stats, Burst 3 is enough to attack with in the Active Turn. A compromise solution – I would love for Crosiers to have a HI HMG they could include – but a solid one.
Hospitaller Knights can form a Core Fireteam, but they are simply too expensive to build a list around. The ability to take a linked HMG is something I value heavily, as are resilient Doctors who can take over fighting duties. But to create a 5-model Core Fireteam as cheaply as possible, you’re looking at 2 Knights, an Order Sergeant, an Infirmarer and Konstantinos. This might be worth a try but I do not like those filler profiles, so I have not yet tried this option.
Teutons can form Core Fireteams, but being max AVA3, require some combination of an Order Sergeant, an Infirmarer, Konstantinos, Knights of Santiago or Knights of Justice to reach full strength. Now this is a good base for a HI Fireteam, especially with included NCO and ML options. The only downside is you pay for a full 5 Knights, which gets expensive fast, or you are dragging weaker models along with your hyper-aggressive Teutons. Teutons are wonderfully efficient close-in brawlers, so I prefer to use them in their own Haris. But if you wanted to use a Core Fireteam aggressively, they are probably the best basis for it.
Haris Fire Teams
Teutons are the dominant choice here. You could cheapen them by including an Order Sergeant, or add capability with a Santiago Hacker or a Knight of Justice Spitfire if you wanted. Either of those options would leave you one Teuton from their AVA free to act as a disposable piece or a resilient, cheap hidden Lt. But the most common option for a Teuton Haris for me is simply 3 Teutons including the NCO Spitfire. Even if you’re not taking the Knight Commander, it’s a precious extra Order on a good-enough platform. Be cautious of including the Lt in a Haris, as they are best fired into the enemy at full stretch. But this Haris can really alternate between good medium-close firepower, shotgun forks on vulnerable skirmishers, and close combat against troops protected against BS attacks. It’s a wonderful attacking unit and surprisingly difficult for your opponent to wipe out on the counter-attack.
I haven’t tried it yet, but a Knight Hospitaller Haris does have some options. Particularly, they are not forbidden from using the Forward Deployment (+8”) option in a Haris. Now I’m not sure that’s a competitive profile overall (37 pts, to a normal Boarding Shotgun Hospitaller’s 29) but it would certainly be funny to play 2 of them and a Knight of Justice Spitfire with FD+4”. About 40% of your points, but the capability to completely roll up the enemy flank, at least in Missions with 16” Deployment Zones. Overall though, the Hospitallers are overshadowed as a Haris – even if you do have a use for them in that role, it leaves you with the question of how to best employ your Teutons.
Finally, you could use 2 Order Sergeants as the basis for a Haris, with a firepower Wildcard. The problem with this is you’d have a Spitfire (of Justice or Santiago) dragging along a couple of normal Light Infantry, neither especially cheap nor especially capable, into the fray. It doesn’t add very much beyond the +1 Burst bonus.
I really like the idea of using a Knightly Duo – you don’t get any sweet Fireteam bonuses, but equally you are risking fewer points and models in an overextended attack. Hopefully the high stats of your Knights can overcome resistance without improved Burst or BS. I’d usually combine one firepower piece with one specialist – probably a Knight of Justice Spitfire with a Hospitaller Doctor or a Santiago Hacker. The difficulty here is you can only afford so many of these elite models in your list, and by taking them for a Duo you are depriving your Core/Haris teams of their point men.
Bulleteers are an intriguing Duo choice, being an absolute bargain price for Mimetism(-6) pieces. Not only could you take them as a Duo of their own, being able to mix in a Knight of Justice or of Santiago lets you do the same firepower/specialist split at a discount price.
The Crusade Fire Team
Joan of Arc is a key piece for the Sectorial. I haven’t tried her yet, but of course I have played against her (under the old-version MO). While you could take her just to leverage some Regular 3-pt models and the special Coordinated Order, both of which are super helpful for MO, usually when she appears she is played in a full 5-model Core Fireteam. It’s a BS18 model with B5, enough said. Additionally, I’ve almost always seen players reach for the ‘Mobility Armor’ version for its Spitfire. This is natural, although I would also consider taking the normal, cheaper version with Multi-rifle and using a Hospitaller HMG to cover the longer ranges. In either case, you are looking at a hell of an expensive Core Fireteam. You aren’t even allowed an Order Sergeant or Infirmarer! That means the cheapest sensible Crusade Fireteam is around 170 pts (the cheapest possible 5-man option, Joan/Konstantinos/3 shotgun Hospitallers, is 156 pts). In practice, if you are going all-in, you might very well wish to add a Knight of Justice ML, a Santiago Hacker with his Firewall, etc.
This is the definition of “all your eggs in one basket”, which is not my favoured approach to play. My gut impression with Joan and friends is that it’s a beatstick, so you can thrash weaker players more decisively & convincingly, while just making yourself a more obvious problem to be solved in the eyes of really strong players. Something I may explore later is the idea of using Joan either as a Lt for Inspiring Leadership, either on her own, or in a 3-model Crusade Fireteam. The issue is that Joan on her own is a good but not ideal attack piece, there are other, slightly cheaper models competing with her for a place at the head of a 3-model team. And in either case, she’s a very obvious, aggressive Lt in a faction where the only Chain of Command is another expensive attack piece.
Key Attack Pieces
I was initially concerned, looking at my first MO lists, that the Sectorial might struggle with long range firefights. We’ve already discussed how some of the best Fireteam leaders are either using long range Burst 1-2 weapons, or Spitfires which drop off over 24”. Their MSV2 troops (an overlapping category) have a similar issue. I have ‘grown up’ as an Infinity player through N2, when the HMG was king, and then spent the bulk of my playing time in N3, with the rise of super-strong Reactive Fireteam snipers. Maybe this has warped my perspective, but one of the top things I look to include in every list is my sweeper(s). Who is going to clear those strong AROs and open up the board for me to attack or move on the Objectives? Give me an Intruder HMG and some smoke and I’m a happy man – even if there is a lot more to be considered in the modern game. Fortunately, MO really does have the right tools to do this, I would just argue that most of them are outside of their Fireteams.
The Knight of the Holy Sepulchre brings some unique capability with Holoprojector. The obvious uses of this are to make him harder (or at least more confusing) for your opponent to target when you take second turn; to trigger deployable weapons safely and easily; to play tricks with flitting in and out of LoF at the end of your Active Turn, including pinning the enemy with Suppressive Fire (for anyone who has not heard of this trick, essentially you are out of LoF round a corner, you enter Suppression, then in the States phase you place your Holo Echoes in Silhouette Contact, secretly declaring the Echo now poking out into LoF as the ‘real one’). More importantly for his role as a sweeper, he can be a BS14 AP HMG with NCO and access to Surprise Shot, so that’s nice. I really like this guy. He’s not actually the best in the Sectorial at overcoming AROs but he gives Order efficiency and a unique skill-set on top of being pretty damn good at long range shooting.
The Proper TAG
The Tikbalang of Montesa is a pretty damn great TAG. BS15, Mimetism(-3) and an AP HMG make it a contender for the best long range Face-to-Face shooter in the faction. It’s a Remote Presence TAG, so even though the only Engineer in the Sectorial, the Machinist, is nothing special, there’s a real synergy available there. Crying shame you can’t take the wider PanOceania version with Shock Mines, and Religious Troop is a real issue for a TAG since it makes it more dangerous to set it out to ARO. Even so, this is a profile worth trying out – it far outclasses the Seraph, to the point I’m not even mentioning the latter again.
The Fireteam Option
The Hospitaller HMG is the only Burst 4, 32” weapon MO can put in a 5-model Core Fireteam. I’ve already mentioned how I don’t think that Fireteam is lean enough to work well, but let’s look at this as a benchmark against the other HMG options above. Burst 5 on BS 17 is straight up better than the competitors, although both of those can offer a -3 modifier to the opponent. The lack of AP ammunition stings, but I’d argue that the targets where that really matters (TAGs) are best attacked in some other way regardless. Of course, you are giving up any amount of flexibility and manoeuvrability to tie your prime firepower piece to a 5-model team.
Spanning the role of utility / AROs / sweeping is the Trinitarian Sniper. While this model brings more to the list in terms of surprising the enemy and exerting board control, a Mimetism(-6) sniper can still solve a lot of problems safely and easily, by putting enemies with 32” weapons, but without Sixth Sense or MSV, on a -12 to Shoot. Just don’t rely on his offensive capability too much – Burst 2 DA on BS12 will only go so far against armoured and/or multi-wound targets.
Finally, when discussing long range firepower, I want to mention the humble Sierra Dronbot, ie a Total Reaction Remote. It does what it does, it plays an important Reactive role without much investment, there’s clear synergy with the Engineer and the EVO hacker, both of which you may want to take for other reasons. It’s a piece cheap enough to be disposable, good enough when given Assisted Fire, a pain for your opponent to entirely remove if you’ve deployed it and your Engineer right. Always consider one of these, especially if you’re trying to stretch your force to the full 15 models while trying to keep the minimum of ranged power in there.
This is the area where MO is spoiled for choice. There are so many good options to burst up the board, overcoming any opposing skirmishers and hopefully rolling round the enemy’s flank. Spitfires are everywhere, but there are also options to mix it up in melee or to offer trades with direct templates.
The Teutonic Knights are really best used as a Haris so that they can take advantage of cover – but in the endgame it’s often sensible to dissolve this and get their Impetuous Orders to let them close in and finish the enemy off. The combination of shotguns, Dodging on 17s, and strong melee skills with 2W make them really capable of blowing through enemy skirmishers or other light troops and then being a right pain for the enemy to remove in turn. The Spitfire NCO is the natural leader for any engagements over 8” and excels in the role. He’s a lot less dangerous when/if the Haris breaks up, but being able to use the Lt Order and drag his buddies up the field with him make him the premier choice.
There are several Spitfire-wielding Knights that can roll up a flank. I’ve tried the Knight of Justice, attracted by the exceptional stats, including 6-2MOV, and option for Forward Deployment (+4”). Santiago Knights offer E/M grenades and a 360 Visor which makes Suppression Fire more useful. De Fersen gives you a combination Mission Specialist, strong Hacker, melee threat and firepower piece, although you are paying to be a jack of all trades there. All of these Knights have Stealth, which Teutons do not, this is a huge enabler for any aggressive attacking piece and especially vital when you’re hackable. All of them benefit from being able to Duo – bring along a Hacker, including one with a Firewall, or a Doctor (not a bad use case for an Infirmarer) to add some potential moves and achieve the Mission Objectives.
Send in the Drones
In a similar role to these aggressive Knights, have a look at the Bulleteer Armbots. These are more fragile, but cheaper, and with Mimetism(-6) and access to Assisted Fire, some of the best gunfighters available for Face to Face rolls. I favour the Spitfire version – this sort of profile, with 1STR, is much better at a conventional gunfight than within 8” where templates often come into play. As mentioned earlier, these can mix and match Duo with some Knights.
The Padre is expensive. Probably too expensive, in a Sectorial with plenty of prestige pieces to choose from. But he is a BS14, Mimetism (-6) model who Dodges on 16s. Unless your opponent has brought the right tools, he’s a real pain to remove. He can also solve a lot of midfield problems with his Berserk(+3) and his Continuous Damage Grenades (he can Speculative Fire on 10s within 8”). The issue I have had with Mendoza is making space for him while trying to cover my other priorities and get to 15 models. I can take a Duo, e.g. a Bulleteer Spitfire and Knight of Santiago KHD, for a few more points. If he had Specialist Operative or an equivalent skill, I think I would take him more often. As is I see him as an extremely fun pick, but perhaps not the competitive one.
Aerial Deployment is a key capability for any Faction or Sectorial in the game. To start off, MO is in the enviable position of having access to both Hidden Deployment and Parachutist/Combat Jump options. So when your opponent realises you deployed fewer than 15 models on the table at the start of the game, he isn’t quite sure what’s going to happen. I mean, once you’ve played the Sectorial for a while, he will know that most likely you’ve just got Trinitarians. The airborne options for MO are not their competitive selling point. Crusader Brethren are a flexible option with BS13 and ARM3, but they do pay for those stats. If I were taking one, I would go for the Spitfire option every time, and I would almost always deploy as a Parachutist. PH11 is simply not high enough to risk a Combat Jump unless it’s that or lose the game – even with EVO. It’s an option to consider (especially in the Firefight Mission) and of course its mere existence is important due to the potential mind games – hell, once your opponent only expects Trinitarians, spring one of these on him! But there’s nothing special about these guys compared to some of the Parachutist options of other factions with Mimetism or other nifty skills. They can’t be Specialists either, which is like half the appeal of Aerial Deployment troops.
I need to mention the Knight of Santiago (Combat Jump). It’s a silly option. It’s 45 points and it only has Combat Jump. No parachute for you! In theory this is anathema to me, because like every other competitive player, when it’s time to deploy my drop troop, I look very carefully for a place to walk it on the board edge, and I only try to roll to Combat Jump if it’s a game winning opportunity or my last hope. You don’t want to roll badly and completely sideline your model, and you especially don’t want that on a 45 pt profile who’s only worth a damn within 8”. On the other hand . . .
It’s PH13 and you may well want an EVO Hacker anyway – I would go so far as to say that if you take the Jump Knight, you must take the EVO Hacker. If your opponent doesn’t have the EVO, and/or you can keep yours alive while removing theirs, that’s an 80% chance to stick the landing. Once you’re there, you have Stealth, you’re a decent Killer Hacker and thus a Mission Specialist, you are a BS14 Boarding Shotgun, i.e. you are rolling on 20s when coming around the corner at non-Mimetism troops, you are good at melee with D-Charges, and you even have Shock Mines. This guy will go through vulnerable support troops like a knife through butter a heretic. I’m not saying use it – certainly not all the time. We’ll get to Trinitarians in a second, and you could take two of them for the price, which is obviously better. But he is a ton of fun. More seriously, his combination of skills and equipment fit him perfectly for some missions. If you do stick the landing, there are missions where D-Charges or a Hacker landing right next to the Objective is just the most efficient way to win the game. He can cover a slew of Classified Objectives as well. I have played him in Looting and Sabotaging and by god I was glad I did.
Embrace the Trinity
Trinitarians by far the best option for Mission Specialists, and I could have written about them extensively in the section on close-in attack pieces. Mimetism(-6) can make anything an effective attack piece against light opposition – although the Specialist Profiles want to operate within 8”, which is also known as ‘template range’, meaning you can find yourself unable to progress against opposition with Direct Template Weapons (DTW) who’d be happy to trade with you. On the other hand, popping up a Trinitarian Boarding Shotgun behind a TAG in the midfield without a DTW and spending the Orders needed to blast through its Structure is a wonderful feeling.
They’re Infiltrating Hidden Deployment Specialists, the capability which trivialises so many Missions. As Veteran Troop Forward Observers with D-Charges, they are also pretty handy for Classified Objectives, and if you don’t want to attack with them, e.g. because of the DTWs blocking you, they can usefully lay down a belt of mines in the midfield. Take 1-3 of these in every game, unless maybe there’s an Exclusion Zone.
The Best of the Rest
I’ve already discussed the Specialist uses of the Combat Jump Knight of Santiago, and the complete uselessness of the Crusader Brethren in this regard. As far as I can see, no Forward Deployment option in the Sectorial can be a Specialist. Basically, if you need Mission Specialists, you rely on your Trinitarian(s) or you need to be prepared to move or fight forward from your Deployment Zone. There are a few options for this.
Don’t neglect the Pathfinder Dronbot (ie a Sensor-bot). Yes, other factions get sexier platforms for Sensor, but it is a damn useful skill and the Remote itself, while nothing special as a fighter, can receive Assisted Fire in a pinch – it still gives you a way to attack midfield Camouflage that could otherwise hold you up.
I have not yet tried the Knight of Montesa, AKA the Biker Knight from Mars. I am deeply suspicious of a Silhouette 4 profile that can’t take cover due to Impetuous. Mimetism(-3) is only a partial compensation and I’d be very wary of MSV opponents getting an angle on the massive Silhouette (I believe you can’t even start the game Prone as a Motorcycle). For those reasons I’ve dismissed it as a gunfighter with the Red Fury or Multi-Rifle options. The Paramedic may have some relevance, since unlike any of your other specialists it can reach a central Objective efficiently, even in Exclusion Zone missions. But it’s not that cheap and it has a massive target on its back. While a BS13, 2W shotgun isn’t useless at attacking forward, in a Sectorial with no Smoke, it’s just not a very attractive choice. Theoretically you could move quickly to help any Unconscious allies, but that plan evaporates the moment the enemy has any AROs between the Montesa and his buddy. If I ever need to do a list purely for the Supplies Mission, I’ll consider this profile.
A Fighting Specialist (for 53 pts)
A far more flexible and puissant Specialist is the Knight of the Holy Sepulchre Chain of Command (CoC) profile. This guy combines a flexible forward attacker with the ability to activate Mission Objectives, while using his Holo-Echoes to remove the deployable weapons which your opponent will use to keep other models off them. I don’t really rate it for CoC as a skill, since you are more likely to use and lose the Sepulchre before losing your original Lt. In a hypothetical scenario where he does become a Lt, it would be a very useful extra Order for a Round 3 run at the Objective though. More importantly, this model is a strong gunfighter up to 24”, can tank DTWs and forces coin-flip rolls against enemy melee specialists. Send him in to get the job done in any Mission which you expect to be fought out in the midfield. He isn’t quite as mobile as some flank-attacker options but with Veteran (to ignore the threat of Jammers and Oblivion) on top of Stealth, Holoprojector and his beastly stats, he is a great rambo piece (and should be for his price).
Duo & Haris Options
Not to repeat the earlier points about Duos, but my favourite way to include Mission Specialists, beyond the Trinitarians, in MO is to pack one into a Haris or a Duo. If your opponent pulls a ‘gotcha’ Hidden Deployment ARO or simply gets lucky with a conventional ARO, and a Specialist you spent precious Orders moving toward the Objective goes down, it can torpedo your whole game plan. Taking the Specialist as part of a Haris/Duo behind a firepower piece can reduce that risk. You may still be caught out by a Hidden Deployment impact template ARO, or you may be kept off the Objective by a strong ARO piece if your own firepower piece goes down. But you can at least have another crack at it. It gives you another model to trade against DTW AROs before your Specialist completes the Objective. Yes, you are risking more points and another Order by moving them forward to the central Objectives, but I think it is worth it.
So far I’ve used Teutons exclusively as a Haris – they can take a Specialist Operative profile (with a Submachine Gun!) which I wish I’d included in one of my tournament lists. I’d advise on that in almost any Mission which can use Specialist Operatives for the Objectives. In a Duo, I found a Hospitaller Doctor very useful as back-up for a Knight of Justice. Not only could I accomplish the Mission, I could heal the first Knight if he went down and the Hospitaller was no slouch in combat within 16”.
Core Fire Teams need an overwhelming investment to have an aggressive function, so I have mostly defaulted to a Crosier Core Fireteam, and that in turn leads me to a Knight Commander. Similarly, the Teutons are the most efficient and best-adapted attacking Haris in my book, so I’ve usually taken them, built around a Spitfire NCO. Trinitarians are absolutely worth it as they provide minefield control and Specialists. From there I sprinkle in the other attack pieces to taste. Sometimes these have to be REMs rather than Knights – points are always tight. Here is the list I took in the Remote Access League for Looting & Sabotaging, Tic-Tac-Toe and Decapitation:
I actually chose the Teuton Lt here. I would have had to give up points to get a Knight Commander and in Decapitation, where the Lt’s identity is Open Information and his assassination an Objective, Holomask would have been useless. I felt it was better to use the Teutons in a Haris and try to keep the specific Lt model safe. This worked well in two games; in Looting & Sabotaging I brought the Haris forward thinking I was safe, an opportunistic Parachutist attacked that Teuton, not even realising it was the Lt, and smoked him in one Order. So lesson learned, be careful with any Lt option.
For Panic Room & Biotechvore I took a single combat group list. I lost Panic Room and won Biotechvore, and was lucky to get that. It’s a lot easier to write a 10-model list for MO than to stretch to 15, but it just isn’t worth it. The effect of even a couple casualties on your ability to control the board and the game is too extreme. There’s no ability to recover from an effective enemy Active Turn.
Future List Structure
For my MO lists at the moment, I would use my ‘normal’ competitive structure of the Core Fireteam and any aggressive Duo/Haris in the first group. A ‘sweeper’ solo firepower unit and some Specialists with limited aims could go in the second group. While I have been treating 10/5 as the default Order split, I am now going to experiment with 9/6 and/or having my drop troop (if one exists) in the main pool. My rationale is that sometimes I want to switch a piece into the main pool if I’ve taken casualties, but those casualties are only Unconscious, so are blocking places. While I almost always want to swap a drop troop into the larger pool before use – so why not do it at the start and save my Command Token, even at a hit to my Order efficiency. We will see how this goes.
I am keen to experiment with some solo strikers and Duo teams on top of or alongside the major elements I’ve used so far – Crosier Core, Teuton Haris, Trinitarian specialists. The Tikbalang and both Knight of the Holy Sepulchre variants are both very interesting to me. The challenge is absolutely cramming these elements in. I just don’t feel that MO has a particularly strong ‘backing section’ of cheap troops and utility models.
Beyond any competitive advice, my one take-away from trying out MO is this: if you are a one-faction player and you find the game is getting stale, start playing another side! With Tabletop Simulator, there is no excuse not to give it a whirl. Even if you don’t end up repeatedly playing or collecting a Faction/Sectorial, it can give you fresh eyes on the game.
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